I needed to write an optimization function for college and came across this problem today: if you use OS X Mountain Lion (I think the problem also happens in Lion and < 10.6), your MATLAB should stop working correctly after a Java update that occurred in June. Well, Java.
The problem lies with a bug packed in the Java Security Update released by Apple. For some reason, the corresponding fix isn’t automatically downloaded by the App Store, so we must do it manually1. This bug interferes with MATLAB’s graphical user interface, making it unusable.
It’s pretty easy: go to support.apple.com/kb/DL1572 and download the update. Then, just install and open MATLAB.
Another “solution” is to run MATLAB without its GUI by using:
$MATLAB is the installation directory, for example in
Moral: don’t leave some computer-based homework for the last day when it depends on Java.